Chapter 1118: Magnetism

Shortly after parting with Merlin, Vahn made his way back to the Knight’s training field since he had sensed Artoria and Mordred resume their training, likely after eating lunch. It was already going on 5 PM so Vahn wanted to make good on his promise before the sun went down. When he arrived at the training field, it was obviously that Mordred had been working even harder than before as she could barely hold her sword but still stood her grown with conviction in her eyes. Though she was only going on seven years old, she had fought on actual battlefields so fatigue wasn’t something that could take her out of the fight. So long as she was still conscious, Mordred would never admit defeat, even against considerably more powerful opponents.

This time, Mordred didn’t look toward him, instead, keeping an eye on her mother without breaking focus for a single moment. As a result, the two kept staring at each other for several seconds before Artoria finally smiled and said, “Very good, Mordred. Clean yourself up and go spend some time with your father. You worked hard today…I’m proud of you.” Though the last words were followed up by Artoria giving a small cough, Mordred’s fatigue seemed to vanish away in an instant as she jumped well over three meters off the ground, shouting, “Yoshaa~!” When she landed, however, Mordred’s legs gave out on her so she plopped down to the ground, seemingly without minding it since she just laid sprawled out with a happy smile.

Artoria shook her head when she saw this but there was a small smile on her face when she turned to Vahn and gave a polite bow before excusing herself. She had occupied Mordred’s time for nearly the entire day and, though it would be good for them to spend time as a family, Artoria knew it was father-daughter bonding time now. Vahn understood this as well, coming to stand over Mordred’s body as he looked down at her with a smile of his own, saying, “Come, let’s get you cleaned up before taking off. I need to get you back before dinner. I imagine you’re pretty hungry after a hard day of training, right?”

Rolling to a seated position, Mordred wiped away the sweat from her brow before nodding her head and saying, “Yeah, the food here is great. Though I don’t like that Circe girl all that much, she is weak if you mention a certain someone…” As she said this, Mordred had a sly smile on her face that wasn’t suitable for a child, causing Vahn to roughly ruffle her hair before pulling her to her feet. Then, with Mordred watching with a curious glint in her eyes, Vahn ‘pulled’ the sweat and grime from her body before using a [Scent Removal Towel] to wipe down her face. She was resistant to having him do it for her but, to reinforce the idea that she was a child, Vahn acted as all fathers should, pampering his daughter even if it embarrassed her…

After she was cleaned up a bit, Vahn grabbed Mordred’s tiny hand in his own, marveling at how small it was, before asking, “Are you ready…?” To his mild surprise, Mordred shook her head before pulling her hand free and raising both arms high up as she said, “I want to ride on your back or have you carry me. Since you’re going to treat me like a child, don’t blame me for taking advantage of you in return, Chichihue…!” This little outburst just caused Vahn’s smile to soften a bit as he thought about the logistics. He had given plenty of people a ride on his back in the past but it wasn’t exactly the best position for sight-seeing. However, considering that Mordred just wanted to be a spoiled a bit, Vahn decided it didn’t matter all that much as he squatted down and let her climb on his back.

Mordred had a toothy grin on her face that showed her pronounced canines off as, even though she was a little embarrassed, today had been one of the best days of her life. If every day was like this in the future, she didn’t mind becoming a child and getting pampered by her parents for a few years. Thus, even though she had never even touched a man directly before, as she never removed her armor, Mordred tightly wrapped her arms around Vahn’s neck, marveling at how big his back was. She identified as a man but, no matter how she looked at her own body compared to Vahn’s, it was obvious that she lacked the qualifications to make such a claim…

After hooking his hands under Mordred’s knees, Vahn turned his head skyward before flexing his legs to the extreme and leaping into the sky with full power. Fortunately, as the training field was used by even the Knights of the Round Table in the past, it was heavily reinforced so his actions didn’t even leave a small indentation in the compacted stone floor. As he leaped, Mordred began to laugh while clinging a little tighter to his neck, something that encouraged Vahn to pick up his speed as he began to zoom higher into the sky at a commendable 400km/h. At this speed, he could reach Rin and Sakura in around an hour and, if he was serious, Vahn could make the trip in less than ten minutes if it was an emergency.

This was, unfortunately, around the maximum amount of flight time he could manage with his current reserves. Even with his two ‘crystals’ constantly replenishing his reserves, it was at a much slower rate than completed avatars so he limited by his own [Od Conversion]. At times like this, where he had virtually no use for his [Laplace’s Key], Vahn almost wished he had used the [Skill Enhancement Scroll:SSS] on his [Od Conversion]. If he had obtained its evolved form, to the peak of the Record, he might have a functionally infinite amount of energy to make use of. At the very least, the replenishment of his reserves would be truly monstrous…

Deciding to focus more on his flight, Vahn began to spin around and rapidly change direction a few times, each action eliciting a girlish squee or a peal of childish laughter from Mordred. Her ‘normal’ voice was similar to Artoria’s, albeit slightly huskier and brash, but that just made her sound adorable in her current form. She hadn’t reached the age of puberty so her voice was much higher, matching her child-like figure and actual age well. Though it seemed to trouble her a bit when she was talking to other people, as she proactively tried to make her voice sound deeper, Mordred didn’t seem to care about such things right now. She had even let go of his neck at one point but, as Vahn was flying parallel to the ground, she was able to sit up without too many problems as she spread her arms wide and pretended she was the one flying…

With Avalon only being around 20km long and 17km wide, it didn’t take all that long for Vahn to map out the entire Island from above. He confirmed all of the things Astolfo had talked about and, after flying close to the periphery, Vahn was able to ‘see’ an illusory barrier of sorts. Since he knew better than to try and pass through it directly, Vahn just flew around the periphery with Mordred sitting on his back with her palms placed against his shoulders. She had gotten tired of flying with her arms spread outward so she was just enjoying the view as the wind swept through her hair. He made sure to block most of the wind with his domain and, though she probably wouldn’t care all that much, Vahn made sure the air around them was warm. It was currently around -3.5 degrees Celsius at ground level while the air temperature at an elevation of 500m decreased to an average of -8 degrees Celsius with a wind chill closer to -14 degrees. As a result, Mordred was enjoying the flight a lot more than she ‘should’ have as, from personal experience, Vahn knew it wasn’t all that pleasant to have your hair smacking you in the face and eyes when flying at high speeds…

Since she had never flown before, Mordred wasn’t considering any of the things that Vahn was doing to make the experience more pleasant for her. She was just wrapped up in the moment, doing her best to resist the strange urge to jump that would periodically appear within her mind. The ground seemed super far away but, at the same time, Mordred’s intuition told her she would be okay even if she fell. She didn’t know if this was because Vahn would catch her, or if she was simply durable enough to withstand the impact, but it gave her an almost overwhelming urge to just ‘jump’ when she looked down for a few seconds. If not for the fact that Vahn was holding her ankles to prevent her from wiggling around too much, she very well might have, just to see what would happen…

Unfortunately for Mordred, she was never afforded the opportunity to put her intuition to the test as, after flying around for around twenty minutes, Vahn changed course and began flying back towards the Ivory Castle. Even though he was controlling his speed, his reserves were starting to deplete and, even if they would both be fine if he transformed into his Xuanwu form, he didn’t really want Mordred to get in the habit of thrill-seeking just yet. He could feel her wiggle around and bounce on his back periodically, almost as if she were trying to jump off, so he knew she would probably like skydiving in the future. Once she was more stable, he would reduce or even remove her seal outright and they could go ‘play’ all over the world if she wanted to.

As they neared the castle, Mordred leaned back against Vahn’s back and wrapped her arms around his neck once again, nuzzling against him a little more than he expected. When he landed softly on the ground, she didn’t immediately jump off his back and instead squeezed him a little tighter as she said, “Thank you, Chichihue…” After this, Mordred finally separated from him after Vahn kneeled down and let her free from his grasp. When he turned to look at her, Mordred was looking up at him with her large green eyes as she asked, “You saw them, didn’t you…?” Since he didn’t even have to guess what she was talking about, Vahn simply nodded his head in response before reaching out his hand and gently stroking Mordred’s head.

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Though she was about to ask what he thought about her past, Mordred could tell by the warm and comfortable feelings flowing into her head what his answer would be. She felt a little choked up but, fortunately, managed to prevent any tears from surfacing. There had only been one time when she had cried in her entire life and, now that she had a chance to ‘live’ for the first time, Mordred didn’t want to waste her time crying. Instead, she looked around the area, even though they were in an isolated part of the castle, before pouncing on Vahn and giving him the strongest embrace her little arms could manage. When he returned her embrace with his big and warm arms, Mordred had to bite her lower lip a little harder than she expected…

After a lively meal with everyone but Scáthach, Illya, and Heracles present, Vahn parted ways with everyone to go seek out his troublesome little sister. She had apparently been with Fenrir, Medusa, Circe, and Catherine for most of the day while Astolfo continued his exploration of the island. When dinner was approaching, however, Illya ended up retreating back to her room once again. There was a chance she had wanted him to come pick her up again but, considering what little he knew of Illya’s personality, it was more likely that she simply wasn’t that hungry and wanted to take a nap before he showed up. He knew the probability of him sleeping in her room tonight was relatively high so Vahn explained the matter to Fenrir, Circe, and Medusa since they had undoubtedly planned to sleep in his room for the night.

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Having spent his day in a rather productive manner, even though he hadn’t done any actual training, Vahn was in a pretty good mood when he lightly knocked on Illya’s door. He actually had a ‘plan’ this time around and was curious to see how things would play out. Thus, when she opened the door and turned her ruby-red eyes up at him, Vahn smiled and said, “Good evening, Illya. May I come in?” Though it would usually be her inviting him in, Vahn decided to take a bit of initiative since it would probably make her feel better. He could tell she was more than a little apprehensive and, though she put on a ‘very’ strong front at times, Vahn knew it would make things easier for Illya if he took the lead and gave her less to worry about.

After blinking a few times in surprise, Illya eventually returned a smile before opening her door and answering, “Please, come inside. I have been anticipating your arrival…” Though she had wanted to say more, Illya felt a little awkward since Vahn had taken the initiative from her. He even walked in without any hesitation, passing his eyes over the inside of her room in one motion before staring back at her and saying, “Sorry to keep you waiting. I’ll try and make it up to you…” When he said, this, Vahn reached out his hand and lightly stroked Illya’s head while she was still standing at the door. This caused her to flush slightly before quickly shutting the door and locking it behind her after a few fumbling attempts. She didn’t know what Vahn had in mind but her heart was beating rapidly in her chest as she slowly turned around to stare into his smiling face…

Somewhat against Illya’s expectations, Vahn spent a bit of time helping her decorate and purchasing her a few nice outfits before they ultimately ended up on a sofa he had pulled out from thin air. She was leaning against his chest while Vahn, somewhat embarrassingly, was reading her a storybook that was floating in mid-air. At the same time, he held her in his embrace while lightly stroking her hands with his thumbs. Illya had a light blush on her face since this wasn’t what she had in mind. However, as it was still a very pleasant experience, she didn’t really want it to end either so she just relaxed against Vahn’s warm body, allowing his heat to flow into her small and cold frame…

This went on for more than two hours, to the point that Illya was beginning to get sleepy, even though she had taken a nap in order to stay up later. She didn’t realize that Vahn had been slowly lulling her to sleep since, as much as he wanted to try something with Cath Palug, just spending time with Illya in peace and quiet would be therapeutic for her. If he didn’t take control of the situation, it probably wouldn’t be long before Illya escalated things to a dangerous point. He would rather delay that for as long as possible so, until she lost her ‘patience’, Vahn felt it was infinitely better for them to just bond like this.

Eventually, Illya’s head began to bob a bit, causing her to straighten out her body and slap her own cheeks in an attempt to fight off the sleepiness. With this, Vahn knew that Illya already had plans of her own, causing him to produce a wry smile while she was still looking away. Much to his surprise, however, Illya jumped off the sofa before scampering over to a partition and disappearing on the opposite side. He could see she had a somewhat embarrassed expression on her face before but, just as he was beginning to wonder what she was up to, Vahn’s senses began sending off subtle alarms in the back of his mind. Then, instead of Illya appearing, a shaggy-haired little girl with large fluffy ears and purple eyes peeked around the partition.

Realizing that Illya had only used the partition to strip down before transforming, much like Rin, Vahn couldn’t help but release a light chuckle as he gestured for Cath Palug to come over. Before it moved from behind the partition, however, Cath Palug tilted its head to the side, ears flopping, as it asked, “Master…?” Understanding that it was acting on whatever Fenrir had taught it, Vahn just gave a small nod before patting the area next to him on the sofa. At the same time, he pulled out a small bead of crystallized blood since, for better or worse, Vahn knew that his blood was strangely sweet and delicious for others. This seemed to catch Cath Palug’s attention as it stepped out from behind the partition. Instead of walking over, however, it had squatted down before ‘bouncing’ over on all fours in an admittedly adorable manner that made Vahn feel all kinds of complex emotions…

Holding out the bead of blood without moving his hand, Vahn watched as Cath Palug sniffed it for a few seconds before opening its mouth to reveal sharp teeth. In an instant, the blood bead vanished from his hand as Cath Palug quickly chewed it up before swallowing it. Afterward, it held both of its cheeks with its fur-covered paws, a somewhat awkward smile on its face as it said, “Master~.” Then, without any further hesitation, Cath Palug pounced onto his lap, confusing Vahn when it placed its paws on his chest and began moving them up and down without using its claws. It didn’t take him long to realize that Cath Palug was asking him to pet it, causing Vahn to smile as he began to stroke its head and ears.

In response to Vahn doing what it wanted, Cath Palug produced another awkward smile that Vahn was certain it had learned from Fenrir. He would talk to Fenrir about teaching it how to wear clothes in the future as, the sooner he didn’t have to worry about a nearly naked little girl pouncing on him, the better. Since there was a chance he could speed up the process, Vahn continued to dig into the area at the base of Cath Palug’s ears, causing it to squint its eyes with a contented expression. At the same time, Vahn inspected Cath Palug’s Magic Circuits and memorized the flow of its energy before changing his own race and appearance to emulate its own. This caused Cath Palug’s eyes to instantly open wide before tilting its head adorably to the side in confusion.

Since Vahn didn’t know if it could understand him, he just held up his own paw in a similar manner to Fenrir, an action it seemed to understand since it quickly mirrored him. Vahn remembered how happy Fenrir had been when he transformed into a Vanargandr so, if Cath Palug really wanted kin of its own, he could help to fulfill that role. Thus, though it was a little awkward, he sat with his paws linked with Cath Palug’s as the adorable creature stared back with glittering purple eyes and a smile on its face. It’s fluffy tail, which normally curled in a manner similar to a squirrel, began to flicker in periodically, causing Vahn’s smile to soften as his own as he flexed his paws a bit to squeeze Cath Palug’s.

Vahn was doing his best to understand Cath Palug’s body language but, just as he felt things were going rather well, it surprised him by opening its mouth wide and revealing its sharp teeth. Since it didn’t have an aggressive look in its eyes, Vahn didn’t know what to make of this behavior. He would quickly learn that Cath Palug’s tail flickering wasn’t exactly a ‘good’ sign, however, as it suddenly brought its face closer to his body and began doing what Vahn could only construe as ‘play biting’. The bad thing about this action, which didn’t seem intentionally malicious, was that Cath Palug’s teeth were ‘very’ sharp, much like Fenrir’s had been in the past. It didn’t take long for him to have a few puncture wounds on his chest and stomach and, feeling that it was a ‘bad’ idea to outright stop him, Vahn caused Cath Palug’s tail to waggle somewhat wildly as he followed his own instincts and lightly bit down on the latter’s shoulder. This caused Cath Palug to begin to wiggle around on his hips excitedly before rubbing its face into his chest with a ‘Fou~! Fou~!’ sound.

Though he was somewhat remised about doing such things, Vahn opened up his Quest log before bringing up the [Taming the Beast] Optional Quest. Cath Palug’s ‘Love’ Parameter had increased from 17 to 73 since the last time he saw it so it was clear he had done ‘something’ that it liked. Thus, as awkward as it was, Vahn gave another play bite on Cath Palug’s shoulder, causing it to release another ‘Fou~!” sound as its affection value jumped up to 75. It was clear that Cath Palug though that play biting was a ‘good’ thing, causing Vahn to feel a little awkward since it almost felt like he was courting the small creature. When he pulled his mouth away, however, Cath Palug’s expression turned somewhat fierce as it suddenly leaned forward and took an actual bite out of him this time.

Fortunately, Scáthach’s training came in handy at times like this as, even though there was a sudden and intense ‘searing’ sensation in his abdomen, Vahn’s expression didn’t even flinch. Moments later, the wound had completely healed as he tried to calm down Cath Palug by petting it again. Instead of behaving, it’s only response was to flick its tail wildly as it batted away his hands and tried to bite him over and over. Vahn knew things had gotten out of hand as, within the Quest log, Cath Palug’s affection was steadily reducing every time he blocked its attempt to bite him. With this being the case, Vahn grabbed its shoulders once again before play biting around its neck. This immediately caused Cath Palug to stop thrashing about as it released a mewling ‘Fou~” sound.

Vahn didn’t really know whether to laugh or cry at this development but he found himself leaning towards the latter when Cath Palug wiggled its shoulder in his mouth as if it expected something. When he didn’t comply, it seemed to understand his confusion as, without any hesitation, Cath Palug sunk its teeth into Vahn’s shoulder and took a sizeable chunk out in a single swift motion. Though he healed instantly, Vahn understood that Cath Palug seemed to want him to bite it for real, not just play biting. Though it made his stomach feel a bit queasy, Vahn bit down a little harder, causing Cath Palug to release a happy ‘Fou~!’ in response. Since his intuition told him it would be ‘very’ bad if he stopped now, Vahn literally gnashed his teeth as she took a very small bite out of Cath Palug’s shoulder. This was met with Cath Palug trembling atop his lap as it nuzzled against his chest with a long and extended, ‘Fooooou~’ sound. Then, in the next moment, Vahn saw that the wound had instantly healed, bringing him both relief and a great deal of duress at the same time…

(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘I believe I can fly~’,’Mordred’s happiest day…’,’Fou-kun be like, “Eat me! I want you to do it…!’)

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